Monday, August 27, 2018

HollyShorts: Black Lightning: Tobias's Revenge - Choice Skinner & James M. Black Interview

Photo Credit: JBN Media

Choice Skinner was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and from a very early age was always into some form of entertainment. With the birth of his film company Darkan Entertainment Inc., Choice’s influence as a film director can be seen in the award winning dramatic short film “Brotherly Love”, and his first and second full length features “Wingman Inc.” and “Keep The Faith”. When not acting or directing Choice shoots photography as well as teaches and develops actors at The Breakingthrough Acting Workshop located in Sherman Oaks, CA.

James Moten-Black is an American actor best known for his work on the DC comics based fan film Black Lightning: Tobias's Revenge. He portrays the popular superhero known as Static aka Virgil Hawkins. Born out of Houston, TX, James moved to California immediately after graduating high school in 2007. Having a passion for the arts, he passed up multiple track scholarships in Texas, ultimately finding his place in entertainment. He continues to work as an actor and filmmaker in Los Angeles.

"Black Lightning - Tobias's Revenge" was filmed in the spring/summer of 2016 for a total of 7 days and funded out of pocket by several actors starring in the short, including the director/lead actor. All VFX are being completed by James M Black Choice Skinner & Chase Baker. An official date on when the short will debut online will be available soon. The short stars award winning actor/director Choice Skinner as Black Lightning, James M. Black as "Static", Dimitri Morantus as "Tobias Whale", Jay Hunter as "Gangbuster" and Sachiko Ishida as "Lady Shiva".

"Black Lightning - Tobias's Revenge" was filmed in the spring/summer of 2016 for a total of 7 days and funded out of pocket by several actors starring in the short, including the director/lead actor. The film should be completed by March based on the current VFX timetable. All VFX are being completed by James M Black Choice Skinner & Chase Baker. An official date on when the short will debut online will be available soon. The short stars award winning actor/director Choice Skinner as Black Lightning, James M. Black as "Static", Dimitri Morantus as "Tobias Whale", Jay Hunter as "Gangbuster" and Sachiko Ishida as "Lady Shiva".

Ex-Mayor and crime Lord Tobias Whale has returned to Suicide Slums to exact revenge against local famed superhero Black Lightning. Tobias gathers gang members from the local gang 100 and several other super villains to kidnap the mayor of Metropolis and lure Black Lightning into a trap. Just when things for Black Lightning take a turn for the worst, he gets help from unexpected sources who interrupt Tobias’s plans of revenge.

Dimitri Morantus ― Tobias Whale was born in Brooklyn, New York. His passion and talent for the arts were apparent at even a young age. Performing in a variety of stage plays in high school and in college, Dimitri honed his skills and moved to Los Angeles. He has been training and working on Tv shows like Showtimes' House of Lies, The Stick Up, and his current film Black Lightning - Tobias Revenge. Where Dimitri plays the antagonist Tobias Whale.

JAY HUNTER ― Gangbuster/Jose Delgado
Following his retirement from sports, he dove into acting and has had quite an array of featured roles. These roles placed him alongside great talents, such as; Mark Wahlberg, Vivica Fox, Omar Gooding, Ving Rhames, Donald Faison, They have also allowed him the opportunity to successfully portray various characters ranging from villains to sex-symbols. His upcoming appearances will be a cameo in the new TV comedy “Boy Bye” starring Wendy Raquel Robinson, and will soon see him again on the big screen as a supporting character in “Acrimony”, starring “Empire’s very own Taraji P Henson.

Sachiko Ishida was born in Kyoto, Japan. She is known for her work on He's Just Not That Into You (2009), Boxer (2015).

CHASE BAKER ― Mayor Berkowitz
Chase Baker was born in Salt Lake City, UT. His love for acting and movies was birthed out of being taken to see classic films as a child and reenacting scenes with his sisters and friends. Chase has done, a tremendous amount of work on both sides of the camera. From acting to sound to DP to art department to producing.

AUSTIN UKU ― Holocaust
The Nigerian American actor was born in Benin Nigeria and raised in Pittsburgh PA, before moving to Los Angeles CA. A standout athlete, excelling in Football, track and field and martial arts. After graduating with a degree In Fine Art with a minor in Physical education he began to Advance his modeling career. Austin has been featured in magazines like muscle and Fitness, and Maximum Fitness. Building upon his success as a fitness model and took a role in a Spanish Martial Arts film Cage Fight, in which he also worked as assistant fight coordinator on. 2016 was a Breakout year for Austin. A year in which he had a costarring role in the Smosh Film Ghostmates, a lead role in Brad Lee, a Lead in the Tomb Raider short, Croft: Liabilities and is the lead star in the powerful dramatic short the Audition.

Michael Graham returned to acting in 2011, and has been seen this past year in co-star and recurring co-star roles on CBS’s SCORPION, FOX’s LETHAL WEAPON, and FX’s AMERCIAN CRIME STORY: THE PEOPLE v. OJ SIMPSON. Since 2011, he’s appeared in six feature films, two short films, and 20 national commercials. He began his career as a print and fashion model, and commercial actor in the 1980’s, before embarking on a full-time 27-year career in Law Enforcement. His passion for performance combined with his broad life experience and deep insight into human expression, have strengthened his skills as a powerful actor!

Born and raised in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, Daffany Clark knew from an early age that she wanted to be an actress. As a Columbia College graduate, Clark came to Los Angeles in 2009 and managed to move quickly from LA transplant to working actress. Clark trained under the tutelage of Choice Skinner at the Breakin Through Acting Workshop before landing her first recurring guest star role on The Fosters as "Daphne" in 2012 Daffany is currently producing, writing and starring in her own One Woman Show entitled Pieces.

MIKE BIANCO ―  Det. Bill Henderson
Born and raised in Rhode Island, Mike moved on to UCONN to study Finance. Upon graduation, he returned home where he began acting as well as writing and performing in a weekly sketch comedy show. From there he moved to New York to further his studies and create such roles as Richard Long in "The Coming of Dick" and Danny in "Self and the Pity". Shifting focus to film, Mike starred in the award winning "Close to Midnight". Since moving to Los Angeles he has graduated from both The Second City Hollywood and IO West improv programs. All while starring in several independent feature and short films.

RAMSAY PHILLIPS ― Bibbo Bibbowski
Phillips is a naturally tremendous and powerful, yet soft spoken in everyday life.

Ramsay stars in the film "Falsely Accused" as well as his upcoming film "The Reunion" where he plays twins.

Johnse Allende Jr is an actor based in LA, moved from San Juan, Puerto Rico where he calls home. He has about 5 years in acting experience. LA is the city where he has studied the true arts of becoming an actor. He studied for almost 5 years at the Young Actors Space with acting coach Choice Skinner.There Johnse would study Breaking Through Acting Workshop. With other talents like dancing and martial arts mixed with his fluidity of speaking Spanish, he has cultivated and made use of each gifts on screen. Be sure to watch out for him as the rising star makes his breakthrough towards the industry.

Jesse Lorenzo, born in Newark, DE, makes his action film debut as Warthog, in the anticipated fan film Black Lightning (2017). He got his first break when he appeared as the double for lead actor, Carlos Pratts, in the Disney produced film, McFarland, USA (2015). Since then, Lorenzo has worked on numerous projects including Choice Skinner's Christian drama Keep the Faith (tbd) and has secured lead roles in hit television series, Investigation Discovery's Deadly Sins (2016), and TLC's Sex Sent Me to the ER (2016). He is currently working on 5150, a thriller drama set for release in 2017.

Versatile, energetic, and handsome, Ola Bamisile is a sight for the screen. Pulling from his artistic passions, personality and African heritage he takes a big step into every character. From set to premiere he's moving us to watch, and that we will.

Alexander is best known for his hilarious portrayal as the recurring character Raul on Fx’s You’re The Worst. But it doesn’t stop there, Alexander has appeared in small parts on the hit TNT show The Last Ship & NBC’s The Player, and will be appearing in the Season 2 finale of Netflix original series Love in the early part of 2017. Alexander is also known for his portrayal as the Title character in the multi award winning short Jacob Stone, which he was nominated twice for Best Actor at the California Women’s Film Festival and the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards. Jacob Stone was a hit around the festival circuit taking home the audience award for Best Short in 2015 at the prestigious Catalina Film Festival. It took home four more awards on the festival circuit and piled up a grand total of eight nominations.

Frantz Durand was born in New York to Caribbean parents (Haitian & Dominican). He was introduced to theatre by his uncle writer Dany Laferriere at the age of 4. Soon after he moved to Miami and continued the arts all the way to college. He moved to LA after school to work with the most talented artists in the world.

Virginia Native, Mychal Thompson is quickly becoming a rising star within the acting community. Currently costarring in the short film BLACK LIGHTNING, directed by multiple award winner Choice Skinner; This isn’t the first time the two have worked together, Thompson showcases his versatility and creative finesse as the lead character “Timothy ‘TJ’ Jackson,” in the Christian-Themed Drama KEEP THE FAITH in which Choice Skinner wrote and directed. In conjunction with his starring role in KEEP THE FAITH, Thompson can also be seen in the first season of the “FOX HIT” TV show LETHAL WEAPON in a guest starring role as “Boogie”, starring opposite Damon Wayans and Clayne Crawford. Mychal Thompson is definitely a force to be reckoned with and continues to enhance his craft.

JASON WOODS ― Derek Barnett
Jason Woods, a LA native, grew up playing sports. At 14 he had his first experience with acting, and has had the "bug" ever since. Last year he starred in the film, "San Andres Quake" as well as the lead role in the stage premiere of "When Stars Align" and co-starred in "Jane the Virgin", "Switched at Birth," Sweet/Vicious", and "NCIS - New Orleans". You can also see him styling for Vibes USA hip/hop/street wear at

Bethany Michelle Curry is what you could call a triple threat… Actress/dancer/model. She has danced on MTV, Nickelodeon, booked a National Verizon commercial and also appeared in several high profile music videos, short films, and fitness videos. She models swimwear and recently appeared on the NFL's 'Rob Riggles Picks'.

Choice Skinner and James M. Black on the Red Carpet with JBN Journalist Kristin Cercado.

Choice Skinner and James M. Black on the Red Carpet at HollyShorts.


HollyShorts takes place August 9-18, 2018 at the TCL Chinese Theater, Harmony Gold Theater and other locations in Hollywood. Nearly 400 short films will compete for the festival’s top prizes. Last year HollyShorts finalists included 3 out of the 5 Live Action Oscar nominees and the winning short Silent Child from Rachel Shenton and Chris Overton. This year, HollyShorts received an all-time record 5,000 submissions from over 80 countries. The competition will feature Live Action, Animation and Documentary Shorts as well as web series, student shorts, music videos, TV pilots, and VR. The festival also features a screenplay competition where the winning short gets greenlit, shot and shown at next year’s festival courtesy of Seattle Film Summit.

Video/Audio: Edward Chung. Edit: James Vallesteros (@jamesvallesteros)

HollyShorts Film Festival is an organization devoted to showcasing the best and brightest short films from around the globe, advancing the careers of filmmakers through screenings, networking events, and various panel and forums. The Oscar Qualifying HollyShorts Film Festival showcases the top short films produced 40- minutes or less. Categories include Short Animation, Short Live Action, Short Documentary, Music Video, Webisode, Commercials, TV, and Digital Microbudget.
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